House Minority Leader John Boehner gave a foreign-policy speech Tuesday at the American Legion National Convention, delivering what's being billed as a major policy address for the second time in as many weeks and preempting President Obama's 15-minute televised speech tonight commemorating the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq.
Some leaders who opposed, criticized, and fought tooth-and-nail to stop the surge strategy now proudly claim credit for the results. One leader in the U.S. House of Representatives declared the surge a failure before it was even implemented ... Today we mark not the defeat those voices anticipated--but progress. And I want to thank President Obama for setting aside his past political rhetoric and recognizing the importance of the surge and the diplomatic agreement signed by President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki.
On Afghanistan, Boehner warned against backing away:
I support our counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, but the president must do more to emphasize his commitment to ensuring its success rather than focusing on arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal. And he must also place a greater emphasis on ensuring successful implementation of both the military and civilian components of his strategy.
Using campaign promises as a yardstick to measure success in Iraq and Afghanistan runs the risk of triggering artificial victory laps and premature withdrawal dates unconnected to conditions on the ground.
But much like his economic speech last week, in which he called for the president to fire his team of economic advisers, the specific content of Boehner's speech may not have been as important as its scope and its timing.
But the next Speaker won't necessarily be Boehner. The other pole of Republican power in the House is Minority Whip Eric Cantor, and if Republicans take over, a heated race for Speaker could result, with Cantor and Boehner showing it down at the end.
These Young Guns of the House GOP--Cantor (the leader), Ryan (the thinker), and McCarthy (the strategist)--are ready to take their belief in the principles that have made America great and translate it into solutions that will make the future even better, solutions that will create private sector jobs, maximize individual freedom, and establish a better world for our children.